Gary Payton vs Russell Westbrook 1 on 1
Gary Payton is regarded by many as the greatest defender at the point guard position, whilst Russell Westbrook is considered the most athletic point guard of all time. Who wins in this dream match-up and advances to meet Allen Iverson in the second round of our 1 v 1 tournament?
Gary is the better shooter career high 50.9% from the field, career average of 46.6%. Westbrook’s career high is 45.7% and a career average of 43.2. Neither are great 3pt shooters but GP shot 37.5% career high and 32.7% career average, Russ is 33% career best and 30.4 for his career average; advantage Gary Payton. We’re talking about one of the greatest defensive players of all time, 9x defensive first team, 96 steals leader, defensive player of the year( last guard to win it, who knows when another guard will (if ever)), not to mention did a pretty good job on Jordan. I think Russ’s defense is a little overrated, is heart is there but when will he make a defensive team? When will he lead the league in steals? My pick in this one is GP I think the all time Sonics/Thunder leading scorer beats the reigning scoring champ.
Prime Gary Payton was a monster on defense , while Westbrook is not . Westbrook gets a lot of steals playing the passing lanes and use his athletic ability to play defense but when it comes to defense played by point guards , Payton is the alpha male . Taking a look at their stats and I was amazed to see that it wasn’t all that different but Payton will have the edge in one aspect that I think would rattleWestbrook and that’s mentally. Gary Payton mouth was as big as his heart and he could not only take you out of a game with his physical skills but mentally as well. I don’t think Russ would be ready for that. Westbrook is a superb athlete who wears his emotions on his sleeve but he can be reckless and plays the game at 100 mph. His basketball iq is getting better but when you watch him ,it’s evident that he is still using his athletic ability instead of his head. The game would be alot closer if they was playing by the rules of the NBA today then when Payton roamed the courts but with that being said I still think Payton would beat an erratic Westbrook. On another note, if Derrick Rose wouldn’t have had an unfortunate amount of luck with injuries I think he would be here and not Westbrook . Just had to drop that in there .
Westbrook vs Payton would be 1 heated shit talking matchup. Both these players play with so much outward fire there might be thunder and lightning after each made bucket. Both these player are very streaky shooters so the plan for both of them on defense is to force the other player to shoot jump shoots. The deciding factor in this matchup is purely westbrooks size and athleticism. Gary Payton was known for his defense but never faced anyone near a Westbrook who is the most athletic pg ever. On top of that, Westbrook is bigger then Payton. As much fire and heart Payton has he would be able to do nothing with Westbrook. Westbrook would be able to pretty much do what he wanted. Winner Westbrook
People talk about Isiah Thomas being underrated historically, but Gary Payton is right there. He is the only guy who really elevated his game when going head to head with Jordan in the 96 playoffs. If you haven’t seen that series, go and watch the final 3 games of that series. Payton got right up on Jordan and for the first, and only time in his career, Jordan looked rattled in the finals. It was that kind of intensity, confidence, and defensive ability that has me picking him. Look, I like Westbrook. I would have voted for him for MVP last season. But he is an enigma even in today’s game, so I can only imagine how inconsistent he’d be with the Glove on him. Payton, on the other hand, had an assortment of options to score. He was quick enough to get to the basket on anyone in his era, had a quality step-back and face up jumpshot, and was one of the best post-up guards in the league. Westbrook is without a doubt superior athlete, but that’s not enough, and Payton wins this one.